Multi-academy trusts inquiry launched

18 March 2016

The Education Committee launches an inquiry into the performance, accountability, and governance of Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs).

Inquiry background

Many academy trusts operate a single school, but others are responsible for a chain of schools. The DfE uses the term 'academy chain' to describe groups of three or more schools. Chains of schools typically operate as multi-academy trusts (MATs). A MAT may decide to delegate some functions to school-level governing bodies, but the MAT remains accountable for the schools and can take all decisions on how the schools run.

In January, the Education Committee published a report on Regional Schools Commissioners (PDF 1.3MB) calling for improvements to the transparency, accountability and working relationships of Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs). This inquiry on multi-academy trusts carries on the work in scrutinising the increasingly important 'middle tier' between Whitehall and individual schools.

Call for written submissions

The Education Committee invites written submissions addressing the following points:

  • The role of MATs in the context of other intermediate structures operating between Whitehall and individual schools, including Regional Schools Commissioners
  • The current MATs landscape, including in terms of the number, size, and geographical coverage of MATs
  • The balance of decision-making at the individual school level and at the chain level, and the appropriateness of formal governance structures employed
  • How the expansion of MATs should be monitored and managed
  • The characteristics of high-performing MATs
  • How the performance of MATs should be assessed

Send a written submission through the multi-academy trusts inquiry page.

The deadline for written submissions is Monday 25 April 2016.

Chair's comment

Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Committee said:

"Multi-Academy Trusts play a substantial role in today's education system but with relatively little scrutiny. The Government’s direction of travel towards a fully academised system means we are likely to see more MATs in the future. Some MATs and academies deliver great results for their pupils but it’s important that all academies and MATS meet the highest educational standards.

We want to examine the role and governance of MATs and ensure we have a system which ensures these academy chains deliver excellent performance while being properly held to account."

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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